2017 Chancellor's Best Practice Award Winners

The 2017 Chancellor's Best Practice Awards announced at the 68th Association of Florida Colleges Annual Meeting and Conference

Eastern Florida State College  
Developing and Sustaining a Competitive
Aviation and Aerospace Workforce

Exciting careers in aviation are taking flight at Eastern Florida State College (EFSC) with the new aviation maintenance technology program located at the Orlando Melbourne International Airport. This program serves as a pipeline to provide highly-skilled workers to companies such as Embraer, AAR, SpaceX, Lockheed Martin, RUAG Space, Blue Origin and others that are fueling the region’s rapidly expanding commercial aviation and aerospace sectors.

The program has been essential to the area because of the growing need for qualified aviation workers, as well as serving as a key component in supporting the growth of Florida’s aviation and aerospace industries which have more than $2.5 billion in annual revenues along the Space Coast. With cutting edge equipment, specialized curricula and highly qualified instructors, the aviation maintenance technology program provides students with hands-on training to develop skills which are highly sought by employers and transferable to other targeted industries including advanced manufacturing. The program is highly affordable for students, costing three times less than other aviation maintenance schools in East-Central Florida.

Eastern Florida State College’s aviation program is having an impact on the aviation industry in Brevard County and is becoming a key training facility and source of skilled workers for aviation and aerospace companies. Even before accepting its inaugural class, EFSC was contracted by a major aviation company to deliver a 40 hour “Aviation Maintenance Fundamentals” course to approximately 100 new employees to ensure they had a consistent baseline of skills and knowledge. EFSC continues to work closely with aviation companies to determine their workforce needs and students can earn over $50,200 per year upon graduation.

Santa Fe College
Reducing Student Loan Debt through a
4-Pronged Financial Aid Campaign

Santa Fe College is building upon its strong record of serving students by developing and implementing innovative measures that have reduced student debt through a targeted 4-pronged Financial Aid Campaign. Specifically, Santa Fe College reduced the amount of unsubsidized loans to students by 18 percent between the 2015-2016 academic year and the 2016-2017 academic year. The amount of unsubsidized direct loans students borrowed declined from $10.1 million to $8.3 million. The number of students who borrowed dropped from 3,175 to 2,970 and the average amount borrowed dropped from $3,264 to $2,921.

Santa Fe’s four-pronged approach ensures students’ progress in their academic programs without gaps in financial support: 1) Step one: Every Santa Fe student awarded financial aid automatically receives a standardized notification through the student portal, which connects them to information that potentially can save them thousands of dollars. Students are also directed to a webpage highlighting the substantial cost savings of subsidized loans over unsubsidized ones; 2) Step two: The College provides students the option – by the touch of a button - to electronically decline unsubsidized loans or reduce their amounts; 3) Step three: The College created a part-time financial literacy position to better serve students’ individual needs. The part-time financial literacy specialist works directly with students to help them plan current and future budgets, provides support and guidance to those students who have defaulted on loans, and makes presentations campus wide on prudent financial practices, and 4) Step four: The College changed how loans are packaged to save students money.

Completing the start-up work took nearly six months and involved IT installing the notification to students, the self-actuated button students press to decline or reduce loans, and the new loan packaging guidelines. With that accomplished, the college is able to sustain its Financial Aid Campaign moving forward with recurring funding of $5,000 per year for the FATV (Financial Aid Television) videos and $8,000 per year, without grant contributions, for the financial literacy specialist position. Results hold great promise for transforming students’ lives, both in and after college, leaving less of a financial burden as students’ transition to their respective careers.

Tallahassee Community College
AskStudent Central: Enrollment Call Center 2.0

In an effort to improve enrollment processes and communication efforts with students, Tallahassee Community College (TCC) recently conducted a college-wide review and discovered their past college processes to be fragmented, siloed by department, and difficult to navigate. Admissions and financial aid communication and calls had been outsourced to a third-party provider. While the provider performed its services well, challenges arose in keeping information current and complete, and the unusually high volume of calls surpassed the budget allocated for the service. As a result, a new Enrollment Call Center was born.

TCC’s Enrollment Call Center provides prospective, new, and continuing students the assistance they need in navigating the enrollment process. The Center provides support for Admissions & Records, Academic Advising, and Financial Aid. Call Center representatives are trained to serve as generalists helping students understand missing documents, Florida residency, important dates, registration questions, and so much more. Services are offered via phone, email, and through the online FAQ and ticketing system called Student Central. In addition, the Call Center Representatives are also able to provide outbound calling for various call campaigns throughout the year. Since its launch in February 2017, the Center has received a total of 80,482 phone calls and answered 26,853 tickets.

To bring the Call Center back in-house, the College invested in hiring a full-time Director and 8 full-time Call Center Representatives (annual recurring cost of approximately $350,000). In addition, the College remodeled a space for a Call Center, purchased furniture, implemented a Call Center phone system, and a ticketing system that is used by several departments on campus (estimated startup cost for furniture, communication devices, construction and audio visual: $58,000; additional expenses were incurred to purchase employee computers and monitors, and then the new phone and ticketing system are used campus wide). The result of these efforts have proven successful. The annual operating budget of the Center is $338,960 and in just six months of operation, a return on investment has been realized where previous efforts cost the College $398,386 during that same time period. Student inquiries are now being handled appropriately and the college is saving money through sustainable efforts.

Valencia College
Got College? Increasing the
College-Going Rate in Osceola County

The “Got College?” program, organized by Valencia College, the School District of Osceola County, and the Education Foundation of Osceola County, is a community-wide, grassroots effort to increase the college-going rate in Osceola County. “Got College?” encompasses a number of innovative initiatives that are designed to help students overcome the barriers that have historically prevented students in Osceola County from pursuing post-secondary education.

Program initiatives have proven successful and include: 1) the Valencia Ambassador Program whereby current Valencia students are employed to visit K-12 classrooms in Osceola County and talk about the importance of going to college; 2) Campus Express provides organized school field trips where students travel to Valencia’s Osceola Campus and learn more about the importance of going to college from currently enrolled students; 3) Scholarship Workshops are offered in English and Spanish, by which students complete their Valencia application (the $35 application fee is waived), their FAFSA, and scholarship applications; 4) “Mock College” Days host more than 1,500 students each year for a day of “Mock College.” Students in grades 3rd-12th are invited to campus to attend “mini-classes” led by Valencia professors to gain a sense of what college is like and to reignite their love for learning; and 5) Decision Days are hosted through a joint partnership with the college and local school district partners to celebrate seniors at each high school who plan to attend college.

As a result of these collective efforts, the college-going rate in Osceola County has increased from 40.1% in 2010 to 48.6% in 2015, more than a 20% increase in six years. While Osceola County ranked nearly last in the state (61st out of 67 counties in Florida) with regard to its college-going rate in 2010, its ranking had risen to the top half of the state (27th out of 67 counties) by 2015. The “Got College?” initiative has been recognized in the local media and by state and national organizations as being a sustainable and noteworthy program to increase student access and success.

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